Best Practices for Handling Evidence Gathered on Social Media in Court
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter serve a wide variety of purposes. It’s doubtful that those who came up with the ideas behind these sites had the gathering of evidence in mind as one of these purposes, but the reality is that web content such as social media posts, videos, and images can be used to strengthen a case under certain circumstances. Read on to find out about some best practices for using Social Media in Court to find out how this can best be done.
Capture Content in Full
When preserving documents, it’s important to capture content in full. It’s important to archive all available information, including Facebook, about sections, groups, posts, comments, Messages, and friend pages. This helps to ensure that everything is documented in case the post is deleted and provides adequate context for posts or conversations.
Know Where Content Hides
Most social media platforms have many expandable comments and tabs that could contain relevant, but not easily visible, content. These platforms change frequently, though, so it’s essential that legal professionals know where to look for hidden evidence.
Any metadata available such as IP addresses, URLs, and timestamps should be captured along with the content. This helps to prove its authenticity.
Stay Out of the Custody Chain
Law firms should not handle the collection of evidence on social media themselves. They should instead find a trusted third-party company or other person to handle the collection to protect the chain of custody.
Document Content Accurately
Be sure to capture each page in such a way that it appears exactly as it did online, as this can help avoid confusion.
Always Work with an Experienced Law Firm
This helps to ensure that the content will actually be useful in court. Keep in mind that not all law offices are skilled and experienced in using social media to collect supporting evidence. Be sure to choose a firm like Pritt & Pritt, PLLC, that understands the best practices surrounding the use of social media as evidence in court cases.